Church is something you are, not where you go
We’re not a typical church; still we are not ashamed to be called that. To us, church is a way of life – a life lived in the reality of God, in community with each other and in order to bless our world.
From day one, we’ve known that the Church at Matthew’s House was to be an ever-expanding community of churches devoted to loving God and loving people. Honestly, we had no idea what that was supposed to look like. Even today we are committed to being open to change – open to the Spirit as he blows his direction into our sails. Therefore, you’ll find that this is not an exhaustive description nor will it ever be. This page exists to simply help negotiate some unfamiliar territory. This is to be a reference tool not a map. When it becomes a map then we’ve missed the point. But our hope is that it will help us uncover what it means to be God’s people together.
From the outside looking in it would seem that our “model” is house churches. The fact that we are a collection of God’s people that meet in homes rather than church buildings is merely a reflection of our philosophy of ministry rather than a church organization model. We understand that there is more to house churches than a church that meets in a home. To simply move fruitless techniques into someone’s living room would be pointless.
Our philosophy is that the church is something you are, not where you go. Because of that homes work but so do cafes, parks or virtually anywhere else. We gather in homes, and other everyday places, not to be anti-establishment. We gather in homes because it allows us a simple structure that all followers of Christ can participate in cultivating. It allows us to think of church as more than Sunday morning and move us from being consumers to the crucified.
When it comes to how we function, each of our house churches look unique. Each is trying to be formed in a way that makes sense for its context. We encourage each community to be passionate about being the church, innovative in developing their practices, authentic to who they are and simple enough in all of this so that it can be easily reproduced.
The leadership for Matthew’s House is formed through the model of Jesus and held accountable by the standards we see in I Timothy, Titus and other passages in Scripture. Once a month, our Leadership Council meets. This is a gathering of those leading, and potentially leading house churches along with our elders. It acts as a communication hub for connecting and communicating with the house churches. The group is open for anyone to attend who would like to come and discuss concerns but the majority of our time is spent praying, encouraging and equipping each other as we strive to serve our churches.
When the seeds of Matthew’s House were being sown we didn’t sense the need to find financing for this kind of community. Therefore, we did not seek out any support typically found in affiliating with a denomination. So, with the blessing of our parent churches, along with the relational support of others, we set out on our journey to become what God has been asking us to be. Along the way, we have developed relationships with other like-minded Christian communities and networked with associations that resonate with us. We have no official ties to any organizations but have gladly begun to nurture a relational co-op of churches in North County we call the Ecclesia Network.